This season’s edition of Bubble London, which took place on 29-30 January at the Business Design Centre in Islington, was the most dynamic yet, with an increase in targeted content and innovative product areas. Early indications show an overall increase in the number of buyers attending year-on-year, with an uplift in the number of independent and press visitors to the show.
Bubble continues to confirm its status as London’s must-visit exhibition, featuring fashion for babies and children, footwear, accessories, homewares as well as nursery and maternity brands.
“We are happy with the quality of buyers attending the show and the upturn in the number of independents travelling to London from the rest of the UK and overseas, including Australia, India, South Korea and the US, as well as healthy numbers from Ireland and Europe,” comments Lindsay Hoyes, Bubble’s event director. “Bubble also played host to the Peruvian Pavilion for the first time this season, which showcased South American artisan collections. The Group chose Bubble London as its only European platform for a/w 17 and we look forward to developing similar partnerships at future events.”
Franck Van Huizen, UK agent for Portuguese children’s footwear brand Arauto-RAP was one of many exhibitors impressed with this season’s show. “It’s the best edition we’ve attended yet. It was busier, footfall was up, we met lots of genuine buyers and there was an overall atmosphere of positivity. We’re leaving the show wanting to come back.”
Agnete Rinne, co-founder of Bulb London, shared Van Huizen’s enthusiasm. “Bubble London has been the perfect showcase for our brand. We launched seven months ago, so this was our first time at the show. We couldn’t be happier with the entire experience. We have seen a great selection of buyers, press and bloggers and really feel we have got our name out there. Our Instagram account went crazy when we were at the show. We literally cannot stop smiling.”
Buyers at Bubble were equally positive. Kirsty Johnson, buyer at The BabyStore in Warrington, says “We have both bricks and mortar and online stores and have been trading for six years. This is our third year at Bubble, we come to source new products and see new collections. It’s easy for us to buy here as we can see a variety of brands all in one place – we’ve seen three or four new labels this season. We also come to Bubble to be inspired; it’s really useful for us to see how brands display their collections and we can take these ideas away with us.”
Some of the show’s highlights include the ever popular Rising Star Award, which saw kidswear brand Love & Honor take the crown. Esteemed judges – CWB magazine’s Laura Turner, Mother Pukka’s Anna Whitehouse, Crab & the Fox’s Gemma Fordham and the team from Manchester children’s fashion and lifestyle store, Our Kid – were impressed with the brand’s effortlessly cool debut collection inspired by surf culture, rock n’ roll and family life on the French coast. As is the tradition, the Rising Star winner is awarded a free stand at Bubble the following season.
Another popular new feature was the ‘Pushmepullyou’ pushchair installation. British pushchair brands BabyStyle, Cosatto and iCandy showcased their latest models for visitors to road test, providing a fun and interactive experience and attracting even more nursery buyers to the show.
Bubble’s first ever ‘Green Ambassador’, My Baba’s Leo Bamford, shared news about Bubble’s eco and organic exhibitors in the run up to the show, before curating an inspirational Green installation and selecting The Great British Baby Company for her ‘Best in Show’ award. “I was particularly impressed with the brand’s commitment to heritage, craftsmanship and organic materials and its heirloom quality coats and accessories are incredibly beautiful,” explains Bamford.
Visitors learned more about buying, business growth and new brands thanks to this season’s jam packed seminar programme. There were insights from expert retailers, trend updates from industry veteran Fiona Coleman and a fascinating Q&A with Wild & Gorgeous founders Lucy Enfield and Sophie Worthington by Little London’s Danielle Wilkins.
Bump, Bubble’s maternity and nursery area, returned this season complete with a new layout and new location. This brought with it an exciting selection of brands such as leading babycare brand aden + anais, nursery brand Avery Row and popular changing bag brand, Jem & Bea. Elsewhere in the show, Italian furniture brand Lago’s installation, based on one of its innovative children’s bedrooms, left visitors feeling seriously inspired.
We’ve Got Chemistry, a dedicated space created to showcase the industry’s most exciting collaborations, made a welcome return providing inspiration for brands big and small. Collaborations included merino clothing from The Bright Company and Smalls, slogan sweaters and babygros from The Bonnie Mob and Selfish Mother and Mr Men kidswear by Tobias and the Bear.
Bubble also continued to build on its family-friendly reputation. Visitors of all ages could drop into British bakery brand BKD’s stand to decorate their own cupcakes. Additionally, retailers were invited to take part in the BKD Ice Challenge, which saw them put their icing skills to the test to win a BKD masterclass in their shop. The worthy winner was Rachel Riley who arrived, apron in hand, and walked away with the star prize. Meanwhile, London candy company Spun Candy returned to demonstrate its candy making skills and provided visitors with personalised lollipops throughout the show.
The s/s 18 edition of Bubble London takes place on 16-17 July 2017 at the Business Design Centre, Islington.